Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Vacation Pictures - Old Boats, New Boats, Toy Boats, U-Boats

We'll start with this one, a catamaran passenger ferry from Friedrichshafen. Berthed a short distance away was the car ferry Graf Zeppelin, which docks right out in front of the museum there.
On the left, the WW1 armored cruiser Bismarck; on the right, a larger descendant. These are examples of the ship and boat models in the German Museum. I built model ships and planes as a child, and these models made me start drooling like one of Pavlov's puppies when the bell started ringing.

The latest fashion from Paris? Maybe, but no; this is a life preserver from the mid-1800s. To the left is the launch tube for a rocket that could shoot a lifeline out to shipwrecked sailors.

This sporty little number is a motorboat from the late 1800s. It's powered by a one-cylinder gasoline engine. I took detail pictures of the engine but they're not too good.

A steam-powered launch, capable of carrying about four people. Behind it is the steel hull of the tugboat Renzo that plied the harbor of Bremerhaven in the early 1900s.

It's not my boat; it's U-boat! Specifically this is the conning tower of U-1, Germany's first submarine. It's been cut open in spots (see picture below) to show its interior and engines.

This submarine is one of the WW2-era midget subs built by the Navy to attack Allied ships. Again, it's cut open to display the interior.

Vacation Pictures - And Now, Trains

I didn't see a need to rent a car while I was in Germany, as it boasts an excellent public transportation system. I can safely say that the boasts are well-justified. I traveled in buses, subways, commuter rail, trolleys and intercity rail, and was impressed by their efficiency, speed and punctuality.
Makes me wonder why we can't do that here.

This is the cog railway car (Zahnradbahn) that takes tourists up to and into the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in the county. The terminal is under the Sonn Alpin restaurant on the 2600-meter level (which puts it on the glacier on one of the mountain's shoulders).
A commuter rail train of a newer sort. All the trains were electric drive and very quiet. These trains link the city's main rail station with the Franz Josef Strauss International Airport, and it'll cost you only about $12 (as opposed to renting a car or taking a taxi).

A commuter express. This one took us back to Munich from Dachau.

This is one of the Interregio trains, that links Bavaria with the other German states as well as with other countries. This one had an endpoint in Strasbourg, France.

And now, trolleys! These streetcars are used extensively. They're reasonably priced and I spotted three models of various ages:

What this!?

A train named BOB!?
Yes indeed. Deutsche Bahn (DB) isn't the only game in town; this train is operated by Bavarian Overland Rail. I also saw a cooperatively owned train named Alex.

Vacation Pictures - Oddities

While not exactly "oddities," these are a few pictures of stuff that doesn't really fit into any distinct grouping, so I'm lumping them together. A lot of these were taken just on a whim so I'd have something to talk about later.

This is in the German Museum (Deutsches Museum), and it's actually an alarm clock. No, really. You use the compass to align the sundial, and adjust the magnifying glass. At the right time, the sun shines through the magnifying glass and touches off the little brass cannon. Neat, eh?
A street mime. The things you see when you can't call in an air strike ...

Bad puns aren't an American invention. I laughed at this even as I was taking the picture.

This statue was in a public park that was part of a commerical/residential area near the Theresienwiese, the field where the Oktoberfest is held each year. I was tempted to say it was Lady Godiva, but she's riding a unicorn.

The magazine Bild was running a series of articles on how to cope with embarrassing or tense situations, and they were running a series of billboards to advertise. This one reads, "Honey, I'm sleeping around on you (literally "Dear, I have betrayed you")."

"Yes, your rear end is too fat." I saw two others while I was there but didn't get pictures; one read "Mommy, your cooking stinks" and the other was the ever-popular "Dad, I'm gay." You have to admit, they were eye-catching.

On the day I did the tour of Dachau (pictures to come), there was a charity bike race and other activities being set up in the plaza in front of the Neues Rathaus. One of the activities was sponsored by Munich's Bundesliga team, FC Bayern Muenchen. The side was doing rather well, and I missed out on getting a ticket to see their match with Herta BSC Berlin. I did, however, get a team shirt as a souvenir. The purpose of the sign was to kick or head a soccer ball through the holes and into the net.

The Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen

This is a lakeside view of the city of Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance (also known as the Bodensee). It's located in the German state of Wuerttemburg, and boasts several heavy industries (like Airbus) and a slightly gentler climate than the Bavarian Alpine areas I visited. There are even palm trees planted here, and they looked like they were doing well.
Friedrichshafen is also the spot where, in 1900, the dream of a guy named Ferdinand, Graf von Zeppelin came true with the launch of the first rigid airship. A museum dedicated to him and his airships are just beyond the bend in the background.

The Zeppelin Museum is housed in the old airport building that looks out over the lake. There is a restaurant located on the second floor, and you can eat out on the balcony and watch the ferries come in or simply watch the weather over the water. It was rather hazy and foggy, so try as I might I couldn't see Switzerland.

The restaurant that takes up part of the museum serves its menu on authentic reproductions, each bearing the logo of Zeppelin Flugzeugwerke AG. And the food was great, too.

The best attraction of the Zeppelin Museum is this 108-foot long reproduction of a section of the Hindenburg (LZ129). There's a gallery in the background where you can see the details of its duralumin skeleton and interior architecture. The ladder to the right was the boarding ladder used in the early days of airship travel to get on and off the airships.

To the left is the main salon, while to the right are the promenade windows so you could watch the scenery float past you as the zeppelin cruised along. It must have been an awe-inspiring sight.

A view of the main salon on the Hindenburg. The chairs and other furniture are all duralumin, light, strong (and non-conducting - can't have sparks flying about).

This is a reconstruction of a single stateroom aboard the Hindenburg. There were also a set of two-person staterooms, with bunk beds. Not exactly posh, but you don't spend the whole cruise in your cabin, do you?

This is a view of the city hall in Friedrichshafen. Because of its heavy industry, the city was largely bombed flat in WW2, and most of what you'll see has been rebuilt. I thought the tile pattern on the roof was interesting.

This is the main monument put up to commemorate the first airship launch and to honor Graf von Zeppelin. This face of the pylon faces out over the Bodensee toward Switzerland.

The inscription on this face of the monument reads that the LZ1 was launched from here, and subsequently LZ126 crossed the Atlantic while LZ 127 circled the globe, opening up the first intercontinental air routes. Quite an accomplishment.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

More Things With Wings!

Everyone knows this plane - it's the WW1-era Fokker Dr.1, a very successful triplane that was quite effective over the Western Front in the Great War. The Red Baron (Manfred, Freiherr von Richthofen) flew one of these planes.

The following pictures are of the Junkers Ju-52 transport plane, affectionately referred to as "Iron Annie" or "Aunt Ju" by its aircrews.

The corrugated metal skin of the plane gave it amazing flexibility and strength for its day.

View inside, looking toward the cockpit. The Ju-52 carried cargo, passengers, troops and could even be equipped with either skis or floats.

The left-hand cockpit position, showing the controls. I was a bit stingy with the flash, because I didn't want to wash out the details that could be seen (I was shooting through a window).

This is the MBB 223 Flamingo, a three-seat trainer and sport plane. It was built in Switzerland and the engine's by Porsche (so you know it's a good mover). About 97 were built and it first flew in 1967.

The Fieseler Fi-103, also known as Vergeltungswaffen Eins, or V-1. The first cruise missile, this jet-powered flying bomb raised quite a bit of havoc as they rained down on Britain and parts of Europe.

The Messerschmidt Me-163 Komet, a rocket-powered fighter designed to attack Allied Bombers. Unfortunately, the liquid fuels used were so volatile that more pilots died from having the plane blow up than from being shot down.

This is a WW1 plane called the Rumpler Taube, or Dove. It was a fairly primitive fighter, but the War was in its early days at the time, so there was nowhere to go but up.

Vacation Pictures - Things With Wings!

These pictures were taken at the Deutsches Museum in Munich and at the museum's aviation annex in Oberschleissheim, and include the weird as well as the landmarks.

This is all that remains of the Vollmoller, built in 1910 by two brothers. It's the first wholly German-built aircraft, and one of the brothers died when it crashed. The other one never continued the project.

This sleek fellow is a single-engine jet fighter that deserves its own chapter in history. It's called the Marut, and it was built by India. It's India's only home-built jet fighter aircraft. I apologize for the bad pose, but there were so many planes in the aviation annex that it was hard to get a good angle.

This is recognizable to any aviation enthusiast - it's the Fokker D.VII, one of the best (if not THE best) fighter produced in the First World War. The grounds of the Palace at Schleissheim contains a monument to the Great War's Royal Bavarian Flying Troops, harking back to when Bavaria was an independent country.

Now THIS - is just plain (plane?) silly. It's the Bachem Na-52 Natter (Viper), and it was developed toward the end of WW2. It's a single-seat rocket propelled interceptor that was launched vertically. The nose carried a barrage of simple explosive rockets and the craft was designed to launch, make one pass at a group of bombers, and coast to a landing.

In the mid-30s, an Austrian by the name of Sanger developed the idea of sending a rocket plane into low-Earth orbit that could cover enormous distances by "skipping" along the atmosphere like a stone on a pond. This model was a later development of the idea, the larger plane lifting the smaller high enough to save fuel (the original idea was to launch from a ramp, propelled by upwards of 20 rockets).

And this fellow is also immediately recognizable - it's the Messerschmidt Me-262 Schwalbe (Swallow), the world's first operational jet fighter. Hanging above it in the Deutsches Museum's aviation hall is the rocket-propelled Me-163 Komet and the dreaded Fieseler Fi-103 (also known as the "buzz bomb" or V-1). Those pictures will be up later.

More Vacation Pictures!

Yes, more Things with Wheels, so sit back and relax ....

This picture is from the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen. Back in the 20s when you wanted to go out in style to the airship that would take you across the Atlantic or elsewhere, what better way to go than in this vintage Maybach limousine?

After the Second World War, the Zeppelin company had to do something, so they made bicycles, motorized bicycles and construction machinery (they still make construction machinery - I've seen a lot of this).

This just tickled me. It's from the main railroad station (Hauptbahnhof) in Munich, and it's a stretch limo someone converted into a cafe.

At the Deutsches Museum in Munich you can get a pretty good feel for German innovation in technology - like this electric road tractor from the 1880s - the steam engine at the back runs the electric motor up front.

Finally we're back at the Pinakothek der Moderne, looking at a car with an all-plastic body from the early 60s or so. The design was rejected because the materials available were too expensive and brittle.

Next up - Planes!